Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E Team endured a painful weekend at the Bern ePrix as championship hopeful Lucas Di Grassi could only manage a ninth place finish while his team-mate Daniel Abt was sixth.
This was on a day where championship favourite Jean-Eric Vergne took a gargantuan leap towards back-to-back Formula E titles after the Frenchman won his third race of the season in Switzerland.
The team’s frustrating weekend was borne out of a difficult qualifying session for the German outfit. While Vergne managed to qualify on pole position despite joining his title rivals in the disadvantageous group one qualifying session, Di Grassi struggled on the streets of Bern and lined up only nineteenth on the grid.
After a controversial first corner which saw half the field crash out of the race, the race then restarted as per the starting grid positions. But as the Brazilian made up 11 places in the first corner melee, he was furious at the decision. But once the race restarted, Di Grassi navigated his way through the order and was classified ninth at the end of a tough race.
Afterwards Di Grassi said: “I didn’t manage a good lap. I had zero grip.”
“The race went much better. I overtook a lot of cars and, considering my starting position, extracted the maximum.”
Daniel Abt was able to put together a better performance as the German went in qualifying group two and was seventh on the grid, missing out on a place in Super Pole by one hundredth of a second over Britain’s Sam Bird. In the race, Abt was able to climb one position and claim a well-fought sixth position.
“As a result, I lost my chance for a better spot on the grid,” said the German.
“In the race, we simply weren’t fast enough.”
So after a weekend where Audi simply did not have the pace of their title rivals DS Techeetah, Di Grassi is now 32-points behind Vergne in the drivers’ championship.
While DS Techeetah are a yawning chasm of 43 points ahead of Audi ahead of the double-header season finale at New York City on 13-14 July where the German manufacturer will be hoping to find away of overturning the advantage of the mighty French-Chinese outfit.